Monday, February 28, 2011
The Fantasy Trip: Too Much Of A Good Thing?
While most of you were busy playing Dungeons and Dragons as youngsters, my go-to games were of the microgame variety.
Microgames like Melee, from Metagaming -- a rules-light, man-to-man (as well as beast and monster) fantasy combat system. Or Wizard, Metagaming's follow-on game, where you played a magic-user.
We played the heck out of those microgames during our lunch breaks, while attending middle-school back in the late 70's/early 80's. The entire Microgames line was touted and renowned for its' speed of play, and most of the early microgames had significant replay value.
Metagaming's line of microgames were reasonably popular during that company's heyday. Metagaming published at least five editions of Melee, before it was finally retired in favour of Advanced Melee. Pictured above (from my microgame collection) are the first, fifth and second editions of the game. The cover illustrations for those Melee editions are by Liz Danforth, Roger Stine and Clark Bradley respectively. I always preferred the Clark Bradley cover illustration, on the right. Not because it was in color, but because it captured the adventurer-party spirit of role-playing, while still retaining a look, unique to The Fantasy Trip, and apart from the Dungeons and Dragons art being promulgated at the time.
You may be asking why I could possibly need three copies of Melee. Hello, different artwork! :D
The Melee boxed set with the Stine cover is in the centre. I was never a big fan of his Melee and Wizard covers, nor of his covers for Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard and In The Labyrinth. Yes, with those covers, you knew what game you were playing, but the hyper-realism and plasticity of the figures in his illustrations was simply not my cup of tea.
As for owning four copies of Wizard, three of which are exactly the same, I really have no excuse. In my defense, you can never have too much of a good thing, and those three feature Clark Bradley's cover art.